The master's degree program in Molecular & Cellular Biology was designed for students who seek advanced preparation for professional school, e.g. MD, DO, DVM, PharmD, etc., or future careers in industry, government, or academia.

We offer a wide selection of courses that span several major disciplinary areas: Biochemistry, Cell & Developmental Biology, Microbiology, Molecular & Integrative Physiology, and Neuroscience. Students can also take advanced laboratory courses to develop lab skills that may be useful in their future vocation. This program does not include a research thesis component.

While the MS in MCB program is suitable as preparation for a PhD program in MCB or related areas, it is uncommon for students to enter the MCB PhD program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign after finishing this degree.

Approved Course List  Resources for grad students

Estimated time & cost

Enrollment for this program requires a minimum of two full-time semesters. Credit hours will range from 6–12 (or more) each semester, depending on course availability, international/domestic status, and student goals. International students are required to register for 12 credit hours to maintain F-1/J-1 student status. Fees can vary based on the individual applicant.

For information on current graduate tuition and fees, please visit the Office of the Registrar's "Tuition & Fee Rates" page. None of these costs include housing, transportation or other living expenses.

Application process

Apply to this program by visiting the Graduate College's application page.


For Fall 2025 admission to the MS in MCB program, the deadline to apply is December 1, 2024.
To receive full consideration, ALL application materials need to be received by the application deadline.

Prepare yourself for a brighter future and take the next step in your career development with an MS in MCB.

Are you ready to go farther?


As a student in the MS in Molecular and Cellular Biology program, you will broaden and deepen your knowledge of molecular and cellular biology and sharpen your scientific thinking, analytical, and laboratory skills.



Frequently asked questions about the MS in MCB program

What is the name of the degree program and who is the program contact?

The program is MS in Molecular & Cellular Biology (MCB).
Nikki Clarkson, Program Assistant,, 217-300-6192, is the program contact.

When is the deadline to apply?

The deadline to apply for the MS in MCB program is December 1 for admission in the following fall semester.

What are the application requirements?

The requirements are the same as those for the Graduate College at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Please consult the Graduate College's website for information on minimum requirements.

Additionally, students entering the MS in MCB program will be expected to have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university with undergraduate coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, calculus, and English composition. Applicants must have completed the last 60 hours of coursework with grades of B (3.0 on a scale of 1 to 4) or better. Deficiencies in these areas will require additional coursework, as necessary, for successful completion of the degree.

Do you offer admission in both fall and spring semesters?

The MS in MCB program only offers admission in the fall semesters.

Is the GRE required for this program?

The GRE is not required for application to the MS in MCB program.

Do you accept TOEFL or IELTS?

The Graduate College currently accepts the TOEFL and the IELTS exams. These tests are for international students only. Detailed information about English proficiency requirements can be found on the Graduate College website.

Do I need to identify a research lab before applying?

No. The MS in MCB program is a non-research, non-thesis, course-based degree program for students interested in additional advanced preparation for professional or graduate school or for future careers in industry, government, or academia. The goal of the program is to provide students with a strong and broad educational background and problem-solving skill set in molecular and cellular biology at the advanced level without requiring a research thesis component. If you are interested in research and a PhD program, visit the School of MCB PhD Programs page.

What is the minimum grade point average to be accepted into the MS program?

You will need a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale to be accepted into the MS in MCB program. Admission for those slightly under the 3.0 requirement may be considered.

Do you need a copy of my transcripts?

Yes, please provide us with an unofficial copy of your BS degree transcripts and any other transcripts from an accredited institution during the application process. Please upload a scanned version of your transcript and submit them application portal.

What is the completion time for the program?

The program was designed to be completed in two, three or four semesters, depending on how the student designs their schedule and what other obligations the student has. The program can be completed in two semesters (fall and spring) with 16 credit hours in each semester for a total of 32 credit hours. However, most students prefer to take three semesters, taking a various number of credits per semester totaling 32 credit hours at the end of three semesters. Students who decide to take four semesters are usually working a full- or part-time job at the same time.

What are the costs associated with the program?

The Office of the Registrar provides updated information about graduate tuition. Our tuition is listed under Chemistry and Life Sciences.

Does the MS in MCB program provide any financial support?

The MS in MCB program does not provide financial support.

Contact us


For more information about the MS in MCB please contact us at 217-300-6192 or